She is one of the finest actresses in the industry, who believes in speaking her mind. As an outsider, Vidya Balan changed the game for actresses with her powerful roles in back-to-back award-winning films such as The Dirty Picture and Kahaani. After dabbling with various roles, the actress will soon be seen spreading her charisma as a middle-class housewife, who turns into an RJ with Tumhari Sulu.
In a candid chat, she speaks about her relationship with husband Siddarth Roy Kapur, her career plans and much more.
The industry seems glamorous from the outside, but in reality it is very different. what keeps you positive?
I don’t read or watch entertainment news. Whenever I upload something on social media, I tend to ignore the reactions and comments. When people suggest something that I should read, only then I do. I do think I receive a lot of love, and I am grateful for it. I am okay with criticism as long you are only criticising me, but if you are trying to put me down then I will not hear you. If it’s a constructive criticism then I take it.
When you started your career, actresses were often body shamed. do you think things have changed now?
I love my body and have no issues with it. So, I don’t pay attention when people say anything negative about it. If someone personally comes up to me and comments on my body, I let them know that I am very happy in my space.
I definitely think that today, there is more dialogue on the issue of body shaming even as body shaming isn’t completely eradicated from the industry. I am not someone who reads stuff online, but a lot of people tell me body shaming is pertinent all over on social media. Honestly, I have insulated myself from this, so I am fine. But I have never stopped receiving nasty remarks about my body. I like to think that these people are unhappy with their bodies, so they think it is okay to comment about others.
How are you enjoying your new job with the CBFC?
I am enjoying it. So far, I have just watched two films, and it’s been smooth and a lot of learning.
How has your relationship with Siddarth evolved over the years and how much of your culture do you still follow?
Sid is half Punjabi and half-Jew, and is a true Indian in every sense. In their family, they don’t follow any religious practices. They are non-religious people and for them, all festivals are about being together. I love doing my Kolam and Poo and Vetlapaakh for Navaratri.
What does it take to keep the marriage alive?
Even after spending five years with Siddarth, there are many things about him that surprise me. I think marriage is a constant work too, but it requires much more work because you tend to take it for granted. The beauty is when you don’t take it for granted — that keeps the relationship alive. And I think every relationship is a constant work, but there are some relationships like the ones with your parents and siblings, where no real work is required.
Do you have any plans to write an autobiography?
I have received a lot of offers in past few years to write a book about my journey. I just feel it’s too early. I don’t have the patience, so maybe someone else will have to write it, or maybe I will collaborate. I think I need more material.
Any plans to have children soon?
No, not at all. Also, there was no pressure from my family to get married and neither are they pressurising me to to have children.
How was it working with Manav Kaul in Tumhari Sulu?
Manav is a fab actor. I didn’t really know him when we met for a reading, but before we started the reading something happened and by the time we started the reading we were absolutely comfortable. He is a very secure actor, very giving. That is not the case with all male actors because they are caught up with being macho. He was very easy to work with.
After being a successful actor and a force to reckon with in the industry, what is your biggest fear?
I don’t fear anything and I believe that I am going to be here for the rest of my life, making films, telling stories, living peoples’ lives and that’s what gives me the most joy. Sometimes films work and sometimes they don’t work, so maybe there is a change in your standing business-wise, but that’s part of life. I am an optimist and feel that I don’t think about what will happen if I lose that stardom. I didn’t come here to get the stardom, I came here to be an actor and that’s it. No fear whatsoever.
How difficult is it to walk out of a film when you have differences with your director?
Whatever questions I have, I ask the director before I go on sets. I do a film only if there is absolute clarity. Before I say yes to a film I spend enough time with the director, writer and only when perspectives match, I get on board. If there are any reconcilable differences then I simply op out of the film. I always share my thoughts, suggestions, and inputs. As far as Suresh Triveni (director of Tumhari Sulu) is concerned he is a great storyteller and that reflects in his films.